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Impact of ACICS’ Loss of Accreditation on F-1, H-1B, and I-140 Applicants

In an alert released today, USCIS announced that on August 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) no longer recognizes the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) as an accrediting agency. This determination immediately impacts two immigration-related F-1 student programs:  1. English language study programs  2. F-1 visa holders applying for a 24-month science, engineering, technology, or mathematics (STEM) optional practical training (OPT) extension.   For the English language study program applicants, USCIS will issue Requests for Evidence (RFEs) to any individuals who have filed an I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status, on or after August 19, 2022, requesting a...

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USCIS Reaches Fiscal Year 2023 H-1B Cap

USCIS announced this week that it has received a sufficient number of petitions needed to reach the congressionally mandated 85,000 total cap for fiscal year (FY) 2023. USCIS has also indicated it has completed sending non-selection notifications to registrants’ online accounts. The status for registrations properly submitted for the FY 2023 H-1B numerical allocations, but that were not selected, should now show: Not selected – not eligible to file an H-1B cap petition based on this registration. Any employer wishing to sponsor an employee who was not selected in this year’s single selection will need to register that employee again when USCIS...

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H-1B Visa CAP Registration and Lottery

H-1B Visa Cap Registration and Lottery   David B. Raft, Senior Supervising Attorney  A prospective employer may file a H-1B petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (or USCIS for short) to qualify an individual for employment in a ‘specialty occupation,’ which is a position which requires the knowledge gained in completing at least a Bachelor’s Degree in a specific academic field (or one closely related to it).  The H-1B visa category is subject to an annual quota, with there being a total of 65,000 new H-1B visa numbers available each US Fiscal Year. An additional 20,000 are available to individuals that graduated with an advanced degree from a qualified academic...

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USCIS Changes H-1B CAP Rules

Employer Alert: USCIS Changes H-1B CAP Rules On January 7, 2021, USCIS announced that it will promulgate a Final Rule changing how it administers the H-1B lottery for new H-1B visas.  The rule will change the lottery process from the system in place for many years, where registrants are selected without regard to the merits of their cases, to one where USCIS will give preference to registrations whose proposed salaries are relatively high in comparison to others.  In brief, the rule will result in an increased number of selections for relatively highly paid workers and a reduction in selections for lower paid workers.  The effect,...

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USCIS Announces Rescission of Restrictive H-1B Policies

On June 17, USCIS announced that it was rescinding two policy memoranda that formed the backbone of its heightened scrutiny of H-1B petitions.  This appears to follow directly from USCIS’ major loss in the ITServe Alliance litigation and the related settlement. The policy announcement is a sweeping reduction in the burden of evidence imposed upon H-1B employers.  Under this policy, USCIS officers are directed to no longer require: Itineraries covering the entire 3-year H-1B period. Contracts between the Petitioner and its clients. Evidence of day-to-day work assignments. Further, USCIS officers are directed to limit or shorten the approval period of H-1B petitions...

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H-1B CAP for FY2021

On February 6, 2020, the USCIS conducted a webinar for employers planning to register their hopeful candidates for the H-1B lottery this year.  USCIS showed screenshots of the employer registration process and responded to some questions from the public. The registration window will open at noon, Eastern, on March 1 and close at noon, Eastern, on March 20, 2020.  USCIS committed to notifying registering companies and their attorneys by March 31, 2020 of the results of the lottery and selection process.  They also confirmed that the filing window for selected candidates will open on April 1, and remain open for 90...

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When do I need to amend my H-1b?

James K. Gotcher – Partner jkg@gip-us.com The regulations state that an H-1B amendment is required to reflect any material changes in the terms and conditions of employment or training or the alien’s eligibility as specified in the original approved petition. An amended or new H-1C, H-1B, H-2A, or H-2B petition must be accompanied by a current or new Department of Labor determination. In the case of an H-1B petition, this requirement includes a new labor condition application. (Amended 6/11/01; 66 FR 31107 )  So what constitutes a material change? Change in Worksite:  About a year ago, the USCIS issued a policy memo that offered guidance...

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